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Are Prosumer Households That Much Different? Evidence From Stated Residential Energy Consumption in Germany

Christian Oberst, Hendrik Schmitz and Reinhard Madlener ()

Ecological Economics, 2019, vol. 158, issue C, 101-115

Abstract: This paper discusses the effect of residential energy prosuming on households' energy consumption behavior with the objective of finding evidence of a ‘prosumer rebound effect’ on energy consumption. Prosuming is the partial self-consumption of distributed energy production. We hypothesize that prosumer households are systematically different from consumer households with regard to housing situation and socio-economic characteristics. We ensure an appropriate quasi-randomized comparison by using propensity score matching as our identification strategy. We employ data from a nationwide online survey among homeowners in Germany. While the data show a correlation between lower energy consumption and prosumer households, we find no significant difference in energy consumption behavior between prosumers and non-prosumers in a comparable sample with regard to socio-economic and housing characteristics. Instead, the lower energy consumption of prosumer households is attributed to more energy-efficient technical equipment and thus to purchasing behavior. Our results do not show evidence of either negative or positive externalities of prosuming on residential energy consumption behavior, and therefore we conclude that there is no need for additional governmental measures, e.g. in the form of taxation or subsidies, to address behavioral changes in energy prosuming.

Keywords: Prosumer households; Rebound; Propensity score matching; Residential energy consumption; Energy efficiency; Renewable energies (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C14 D12 O33 Q42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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